What is the Fashion Transparency Index?

What is the Fashion Transparency Index?

By | Maggie Herrera

Fashion transparency has become a hot topic for potential consumers wanting to know how truly ethical and sustainable their favorite fashion brands and retailers are. Fashion Revolution, a not-for-profit global movement, created an index to rank brand and retailers on their dedication to providing pertinent information on their production methods—in other words, ranking brands on their level of transparency—also known as the Fashion Transparency Index.

Fashion's Transparency Efforts Fall Short on Fundamental Data Points | BoF
Source: Fashion Revolution
Fashion Revolution's "I Made Your Clothes" Campaign

July 14th, 2022 marked the publication of the seventh annual edition of Fashion Revolution’s Fashion Transparency Index. This index is organized based on the following criteria, as explain within the Index’s Executive Summary:

“The Fashion Transparency Index reviews brands’ public disclosure on human rights and environmental issues across 246 indicators in 5 key areas:

  1. Policies & Commitments
  2. Governance
  3. Supply Chain Traceability
  4. Know, Show & Fix
  5. Spotlight Issues (which vary by year) 2022:
    1. Decent work, covering forced labor, living wages, purchasing practices, unionization, and collective bargaining
    2. Gender and racial equality
    3. Sustainable sourcing and materials
    4. Overconsumption and business models
    5. Waste and circularity
    6. Water and chemicals
    7. Climate change and biodiversity”
Source: Fashion Revolution 
A campaign poster for the 2022 Fashion Transparency Index.

Once you begin to read further into the Index, Fashion Revolution explains that transparency itself is not the only goal the movement is striving for. The Index is mainly a source of “information to be used by individuals, activists, experts, worker representatives, environmental groups, policymakers, investors and even brands themselves to scrutinize what the big players are doing, hold them to account, showcase good practice and work to make change a reality.” 

Holding these companies accountable includes using resources and our power to invest in companies that are open and conscious about their impact they have on the environment and the world at large. In taking this step, getting pertinent information to a company’s transparency through blogs, news reports, or helpful programs (like United By Zero) can help consumers make conscious choices, along with brands remedying their weaknesses to create a better future for the industry.

In the Quick Overall Findings page of the Index, though it is proven that the averages of transparency among these brands have grown over the past few years, there is still quite a bit of work to do.

Source: Fashion Revolution's Fashion Transparency Index Page 39
This chart shows that 17 brands (7%) of the participating brands scored 0%, the average score was 24%, only 3 brands scored higher than 70% and not one brand of the 246 recorded scored above 80%.

Gaining access to such information is only beneficial to the growth of consumers’ conscience and improving the strategy of production and function of major fashion brands. This also allows companies like United By Zero to help spread such information to ensure more ethical choices are made by those willing to make change and have their voices heard.

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